Justin Eisinga | Reporter
On Friday, September 5, over 150 Redeemer students and 10 faculty/staff helped fill the gap for a local food bank. The food bank, run by local organization Neighbour 2 Neighbour, provides food assistance to individuals and families primarily living in the Hamilton Mountain community.
Although students were unable to beat previous records of food collected, they were nonetheless able to collect over 8,600 pounds of food. This is quite an accomplishment, considering any donation to the Neighbour 2 Neighbour food bank helps provide for the roughly 1,100 families that require their Food Access Program each month.
Hunger is a reality on the Hamilton Mountain and throughout the greater Hamilton area, and Redeemer students help contribute to the relief of hungry bellies each year. But food banks are a reality for many Canadians, not just those living in Hamilton. Roughly 850,000 Canadians visit a food bank each year. According to Food Banks Canada, 36.4 per cent of these visitors are children and youth.
Hunger is a real experience for many people living in cities and towns across our country, and food banks are one of the main sources of food for those who find it difficult to afford groceries on a regular basis. Yet, these food banks rely on the local community to fill the shelves so that those in need can eat.
Over the next several issues of The Crown, we will attempt to follow this food in order to learn more about where it goes after we collect it and to put faces to the people who end up eating it.
We want you to know where the food that Redeemer students collected ended up. We want you to know who the people are that may be eating the box of cereal or can of soup students picked up off the front porch of one of our own neighbours. In doing so, we hope to create a better understanding of the food bank system and the people who use it.
As followers of Christ, we are called to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and visit the prisoner. Yet, often times we feel afraid or nervous, and as a result we distance ourselves from those who are poor instead of creating relationships with them. On top of this, the stigma that is attached to food bank users is not helpful for us or for them, as it builds walls up and creates distance, making it difficult for those who are privileged to empathize and for food bank users to perceive access to such services. Who knows, one day even you may need to access a food bank.
Our prayer is that this series of articles will break down some of those walls that keep you from stepping into places of need, and allow you to flourish in the places God has called you to.